J.K. Rowling Fills in the Blanks With ‘Magic in North America’

J.K. Rowling
Magic in North America is a new series of writings that famed author, J.K. Rowling is going to release on the Harry Potter/ wizarding world expansion site, Pottermore. The first story in a series of four debuts only on Pottermore, March 8, 2016, at 9 a.m. ET. Entertainment Weekly reported the news of the debut with an additional video trailer. Magic in North America is stoking the fires of anticipation for the film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which is based on the textbook about magical creatures that Rowling released in 2001. Rowling is filling in the blanks with Magic in North America, a four- part series, ultimately meant to prepare her fans for the more elaborate Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, to be released Nov. 26, 2016.

Alongside Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Rowling is also about to debut the eighth official story in the series, the stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a two-part play continues exactly where the seventh book in the Harry Potter series concludes. The “Golden Trio” of Harry, Ron, and Hermione, now as parents, waving goodbye to their own children who are off to the wizarding school of Hogwarts for their own adventures.

Unfortunately for worldwide fans, the Cursed Child will be shown at the Palace Theatre London in July 2016. The first official stage play of the series is based on an original story by Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany. The script is being released worldwide, however, so fans also can buy print and digital editions of the next story in the Harry Potter, if they are unable to catch the performance.

Rowling has always been an advocate for the open nature of fan theory concerning her novels, whether it meant answering a fan’s questions about the series on Twitter, or opening up Pottermore, the immersive wizarding world site that expands the world contained in the books. Where the Cursed Child will provide more insight into what happens after the Boy who Lived grows up and has a family, Pottermore promises that with Magic in North America, curious fans will be excited by the installments, about the previously unknown magical nature of the United States. The first of the writings is to be called The History of Magic in North America. The subsequent stories are intended to fill in the blanks of the wizarding world in North America will be released each day at the same time, until March 11, 2016.

The fictional textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is authored by Newt Scamander, who is going to be seen on the big screen November 28, 2016, played by Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne. (The Danish Girl) Redmayne will be portraying the role of the British Magizoologist, who must track down magical creatures in 1926 New York. According to Entertainment Weekly, the setting is a strict departure from the Harry Potter canon, which until this point has taken place in early 1990’s Britain. (As of this year, canonically the Boy Who Lived is actually 36 years old) Rowling’s writing, which made fans feel as though the wizarding world was as comfortable and lived-in as if it were really there, is now about to veer into uncharted territory.

The wizarding world you thought you knew is much larger than you imagined

The series trailer hinted at the Salem witch trials, Native American legends of the skin-walkers, and the Magical Congress of the United States of America.  The narration boomed, “Look beyond the surface, and you will find another world running parallel to our own.” The inclusion of Native American legend is an interesting turn for Rowling.

Diversity has been an issue that has been raised before in the Potter universe. On Twitter, she revealed that she had always considered Harry Potter’s mentor, Albus Dumbledore, to be gay. Recently, she confirmed on Twitter that she was in approval of the casting of a Black Hermione for the Cursed Child, validating the wishes of fans who desired that the character who was dubbed the “brightest witch of our age” could also be seen as something different than the much beloved Emma Watson film version.

Some fans pointed out online that simple omission of detail, as Dumbledore never explicitly came out or said anything about his orientation and Hermione’s race was never overtly stated, was not a true example of inclusion. However, Native American myth could be a possible leap towards including a broader visage of U.S. history, even in the fictional magical sense of the upcoming movie. Rowling’s efforts to fill in the blanks concerning her characters with Magic in North America could prove to be just as inclusive.

Pottermore will release the Magic in North America series of stories throughout the week of March 8-11 on the site. The Cursed Child script is available for preorder from bookstores, and will be on sale as a print or digital copy after the play premieres in July 2016.

By Juanita Lewis

Sources:
Entertainment Weekly: New J.K. Rowling stories will explore American wizarding history
IO9: JK Rowling Tackles the Magical History of America in New Harry Potter Stories
Pottermore: Pottermore reveals ‘History of Magic in North America’
Express: JK Rowling forced to clarify if Harry Potter And The Cursed Child is a BOOK or a SCRIPT
Time: Happy 34th Birthday Harry Potter—You’re Way Older Than We Thought You Were
Image Courtesy of Karen Roe’s Flickr Page – Creative Common’s License

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